Bringing art installations into public spaces is an important trend defining how today’s art is displayed and appreciated. A number of different projects can be found in or on the buildings at TU Wien.
Graffiti piece in Perlmooser Haus (Operngasse 11)
The public stairwell, which is well suited to the concept of art in construction, was covered with graffiti by alternative artist ‘Ichiban’ as part of the conversion in 2003. Walls on each of the six floors are decorated with individual graffiti designs and TU Wien’s mission statement adorns the entrance hall.
In the words of the artist ‘Ichiban’: “I wanted to create a dialogue between the architecture and graffiti, in which neither overpowers the individuality of the other. On the one hand, style elements and themes were taken from the surroundings and integrated into the artwork in abstract forms. On the other, a vital tension was created, in particular through the colour palette, which was designed to inspire dynamism in TU Wien’s everyday work.”
Mission Statement at the Favoritenstraße building
In June 1999, the Senate unanimously approved the university’s mission statement, which translates as ‘Technology for people – developing academic excellence and teaching a comprehensive skill set’.
In order to promote the mission statement externally, the architecture firm Rüdiger Leine was commissioned to create a steel design to showcase the original German wording ‘Technik für Menschen - Wissenschaftliche Exzellenz entwickeln und umfassende Kompetenz vermitteln’. The resulting piece connects the two buildings in Favoritenstraße and reinforces the core aims of TU Wien.
Owls on the library building
The owl has been a symbol of wisdom and learnedness since antiquity. The owl sculptures on the library building were created by Swiss artist, Bruno Weber. Together, the figures form a surreal family of owl-like people.
The large owl:
The large owl sculpture is the most striking and best known feature of the building. It measures 18 m in height and was cast in concrete on site. The ‘original’ can be found in Bruno Weber’s sculpture park in Dietikon near Zurich. The sculpture, which adorns the building’s corner pillar, combines metaphor, allegory and ornamentation to create a striking symbol of transcendence. The mythical half-man half-bird creation encapsulates a desire to free the mind and spirit. It also evokes the image of the bringer of light – the owl as a symbol of wisdom shining through the darkness of ignorance.
The small owls:
16 small owls adorn the arrow-like projections around the ledge at the top of the library building. Together, the figures form a surreal family of owl-like people.
Goeschl Sculpture at the Freihaus building
In spring 1988, the Bundesbaugesellschaft (quasi government company responsible for managing public property, known today as the Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft m.b.H or BIG), commissioned the Austrian sculptor, painter and air historian, Roland Goeschl, to create this sculpture. Goeschl’s primary concern when designing the sculpture was to create a spacial connection with the Freihaus building.
From 1972, he was a professor at the Institute of Art and Design at TU Wien.
Red glass panel at the Getreidemarkt building - 24-hour illumination
This red glass panel was created by Vienna-based independent sculptor and artist, Prof. Werner Würtinger, and was designed to remain visible even in the absence of daylight. Soft light glides over the glass, creating a shimmering glow, designed to evoke the ‘alpenglow’ in the heart of the city at night.